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Tired of the same cliché, by the numbers rom-coms? Then try one of these films! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Underrated Romantic Comedies."
For this list, we’re looking at those romantic comedies that, for whatever reason, haven’t received the critical and/or commercial success that they deserve. Comedies or comedy-dramas with romantic overtones are also being considered.
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Lars and the Real Girl
A film revolving around a young man who develops a relationship with a sex doll sounds like your typical teenage sex comedy. Except this film doesn’t go that route. Instead, what could have been a one-joke movie is actually a sincere look at the struggles of a character dealing with social anxiety. Ryan Gosling is superb as the titular Lars, cementing his place as one of the best young actors in Hollywood. Although the film actually lost money, it was a critical success and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Think Like a Man
Movies with a large cast and multiple, interweaving storylines tend to be pretty by the numbers in regards to the romantic comedy genre. And it’s true, Think Like a Man doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Based on a book by Steve Harvey, the film revolves around four different women and their relationships. What makes this film stand out, however, is its terrific cast and the performances they give. Critics particularly praised the performances of Meagan Good and Kevin Hart, and the acting alone makes this film worth the watch.
Friends with Kids
Similar to our last entry, on-screen chemistry is what makes this film better than your standard rom-com. Director Jennifer Westfeldt stars as the female lead alongside Adam Scott, both of whom are terrific. Add in the sex-obsessed Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig, and the placid Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, and you get three clever, unique relationships all on-screen at the same time. Plus, while our two main characters try to figure out their feelings for each other, we also get to watch their adorable child grow up.
Just Like Heaven
Okay, granted, a girl in a coma storyline sounds like the plot of a bad daytime soap, but this film moves past the cliché and does a great job looking at two characters that are desperately seeking a connection. Mark Ruffalo stars as David Abbott, a grieving widow who has recently moved into a new apartment. The apartment is also inhabited by the spirit of its former owner, Reese Witherspoon’s Elizabeth, who is currently in the hospital in a coma. Together, they work to overcome the difficulties they have both faced in their lives. Critics praised the strong character development and clever dialogue, making for a heavenly combination.
Before he was the foul-mouthed Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds appeared in many romantic comedies, some better than others. One of his best is this film, which revolves around Reynolds telling the history of his dating life to his young daughter as both she and the audience attempt to guess the true identity of her mother. The film didn’t quite draw the crowds, however, ranking just fifth at the box office on its opening weekend, but was a critical success, with reviewers complimenting the original plot line and charismatic lead characters.
While we almost went with the 2012 time-travelling hit Safety Not Guaranteed, it’s About Time that earns the spot on our list. This film follows the charming Domhnall Gleeson as Tim, who learns that he has the ability to travel through time. Initially things go well, as he is able to go back in time and get the girl of his dreams, played by the stunning Rachel McAdams. But he quickly learns that this gift may be more of a curse as he grows older. Although there are some plot inconsistencies regarding the rules of time travelling, the film’s sincere and sentimental storyline is sure to hit home with any viewer.
We go back once again to Ryan Reynolds and get to see him like never before—in a fat suit. Typically it’s the geeky girl who transforms into the beautiful swan, but this time it’s Reynolds, who returns to his hometown after spending a decade away. He decides to get revenge on those who treated him poorly in high school, but he rediscovers his feelings for his former high school crush. Reynolds’ character learns some valuable lessons in his pursuit, including what true beauty really is.
The term, “serendipity,” is when events happen by chance in an advantageous way. And that’s what this film is about—chance. Our two lovers meet each other at the film’s beginning, but decide to leave the future of their relationship up to fate. Jonathan, played by John Cusack, writes his name and phone number on a $5 bill while Sara, played Kate Beckinsale, does the same inside the cover of a book, believing that if their relationship is meant to be, they will find these items one day. This film is perfect for those who believe in true love and the idea that everything will work out the way it is meant to.
Any film that stars Meryl Streep is worth a watch for her alone. Add in Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, and you get a terrific cast that raises this film above others of the genre. Streep plays a single mother of three who begins a relationship with her former husband while also coming to terms with her feelings for her architect. While this film doesn’t necessarily do anything new in regards to its plot or storyline, the acting is superb and the film earned several Golden Globe nominations.
Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Fever Pitch
- Man Up
- Enough Said
If you could write yourself the perfect partner, what would they be like? That’s exactly what happens to Calvin in this quirky and original film. A struggling author, Calvin begins writing about a girl named Ruby Sparks, only to discover that his creation has come to life. While the film could have been an over-the-top lovefest, we get to see the darker side of a relationship in which one person has all the control, in this case quite literally. The fact that the film looks at how easy it is to become insecure and controlling in a relationship, and does so while still remaining funny and heartwarming, is truly impressive.